Minnesota needs to toughen cell phone laws or people need to learn some common sense

I’ve about had it. We’ve all seen it, the erratic driver in front of you going too slow, or not paying attention to traffic signals. You drive by them, and they are yammering away on a cell phone. 4 times in the last 3 days (including twice on Saturday) I’ve seen this behavior and it’s reaching epidemic proportions in the Twin Cities.

I fully admit that some people can manage these two tasks (driving and cell phone talking) without causing any issues. But many, many individuals cannot. They get on that phone, and all attention to being a courteous and normal driver goes right down the tubes.

I’ve never been a fan of laws that ban talking on cell phones while driving (or at least restricting it to hands free), but from my casual observation, they seem to have some impact in the areas I’ve been in that have them, particularly when they are enforced. I think we’ve reached a point in the Twin Cities where these laws ought to be considered, if only for the sanity and safety of those of use that don’t do this behavior.

3 Comments so far

  1. J Wynia (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    Hands-free is entirely irrelevant. Every study that I’ve seen shows that it’s about the distraction, not the use of the other hand. Given the number of people who are able to drive a manual transmission with one hand on the gear lever and the other on the steering wheel, it’s not steering with one hand that’s the problem. It’s being focused on a conversation that’s not in the car with you that’s the problem.

    If you’re having a conversation with someone who *is* in the car with you and you careen toward the embankment, your conversational partner will likely participate in freaking the hell out and do their best to convince you to get your butt back on the road. The same is not true of someone on the phone with you.

    It doesn’t matter whether the distraction is a phone, the kids in the back seat, the idiot on the call-in radio show or the ketchup falling out of the sandwich you’re eating, anything that distracts you from paying *primary* attention to the act of driving is a risk to everyone anywhere near your car. And, if the source of distraction is somewhere else entirely, it’s amplified.

  2. Aaron B. Hockley (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 11:06 am

    Yes! Let’s have more laws! Laws solve everything! I mean, shooting people is illegal, so that never happens anymore!

    You can’t legislate common sense…

  3. Greg (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

    Yeah, I’m all for laws laws and more laws. Might as well make a law banning WALKING down a street (whether talking on cell or not) — oh wait, Minneapolis is already working on that one. Let’s ban smoking in private business for the greater good, too. Oh, that’s already done, too. How about listening to talk radio in the car? I’ve heard that’s worse than listening to music when driving. Can’t wait to see them enforce that one. Regardless, your law will keep the cops nice and busy while people are being murdered on the north side.

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